Comet Photos: NASA Releases Hartley 2 Images Captured By Deep Impact Mission

Filed in Gather Technology News Channel by on November 5, 2010 0 Comments

This is one for the space geeks. NASA has released new comet photos that were captured by their Deep Impact craft just recently. The comet caught on film is Hartley 2. That comet made news just last month for coming the closest to earth it ever had. On October 20th, it was approximately 11 million miles from this planet.

NASA's EPOXI mission spacecraft successfully flew past Comet Hartley 2 on Thursday November 4, 2010. The Deep Impact spacecraft has provided the most extensive observations of a comet ever. This image from 435 miles (700 kilometers) shows that the comet's nucleus, or main body, is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long and .4 kilometers (.25 miles) at the neck, or most narrow portion. Jets can be seen streaming out of the nucleus. UPI/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD Photo via Newscom

Deep Impact has been trying to capture the comet on film since September, and there are more images on the way. NASA received these early images from Deep Impact on Thursday.The photos shot show that the comet looks like a peanut. NPR compares the comet appearance to a chicken leg.  Deep Impact is still following Hartley 2 at this time, but it will stop stalking the comet at Thanksgiving.

At that time, NASA will decide what it wants to do next with the craft. It currently doesn’t have enough fuel on board to continue following the comet. In October, many ventured outside to capture their own view of the comet as it passed by Earth. However, these photos give NASA and those interested in Hartley 2 the best look at the comet. Hartley 2 was first discovered in 1986.

Even better photos are promised from Deep Impact in the days and weeks to come. It is amazing to see what can be done by NASA. Space exploration has come along way since the program began. It has enabled scientists to learn more about space. Hopefully, one day this research will take us to other planets and perhaps find life out there in space. Go here for the latest news.

© Regina Avalos

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